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Coronavirus masks and gloves posing a hazard at recycling centres

Coronavirus masks and gloves posing a hazard at recycling centres
Copyright euronews
Copyright euronews
By Daniel Bellamy
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Too many people are throwing coronavirus masks and gloves into recycling bins in Portugal when they shouldn't, the country's biggest recycling centre warns.

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Portugal's largest recycling centre has a problem.

Too many people are throwing coronavirus masks and gloves into recycling bins, posing a threat to the workers at Valor Sul in Lumiar.

Since they're potentially contaminated, the masks and gloves have to be screened, often manually, amongst the 6,000 tons of recycling they process each month.

Even worse, it's not actually possible to recycle gloves and masks. 

They should go in the rubbish bin instead according to advice from the UK, and many other states.

In France it's a similar story; too many gloves and masks are being thrown away carelessly, and are not even binned.

For street cleaners it's an unnecessary extra risk they have to face.

The deputy head of cleaning at Paris's town hall advises that masks, gloves and any other protective gear must be put in a closed plastic bag and left there for 24 hours. 

Only then it is possible to throw them away in a rubbish bin.

"That way, you expose the agents as little as possible," Paul Simondon said.

And whilst of secondary importance right now, environmentally-minded groups are criticising single-use masks and gloves as wasteful.

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